Dog Biting Incidents: 2005 to 2012
DogsBite.org - From July 2005 to October 2012, Animal control or health departments in at least 25 U.S. states report that pit bulls are leading all breeds in biting incidents, including: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Utah, and Wisconsin. The oft-quoted false claim that pit bulls "do not bite more than other breeds" is inaccurate. Along with leading bite counts, the pit bull bite is also the most damaging. For more recent years, see Dog Biting Incidents: 2013 to 2018.
Monroe County, New York
In October 2012, iTeam 10 Investigates obtained police reports from all major police departments in Monroe County over the course of one year. The news agency felt compelled to examine if their reporting was biased against pit bulls (as breed advocates had accused).1 What News 10 found is that pit bulls were the leading biters and heavy leaders in police calls. Of the 436 police calls for dogs in the City of Rochester, over half of them, 242 (56%), involved pit bulls. Of reported biting incidents in the suburbs, pit bulls were responsible for 28%, more than any other dog breed, followed by shepherds and their mixes with 17%.
1The irony is that pit bull advocates cried "media bias" before this investigation subsequently causing this investigation, which led to even more damning evidence against pit bulls.
In August 2012, DogsBite.org reviewed 5-years of Austin dog bite data (2007 - 2011). Pit bulls and their mixes led bite counts responsible for 22% (1,288) followed by Labs and their mixes, which inflicted 12% (682). Austin ended its Pet Licensing Program in 2008/2009. Thus, the last year anyone can evaluate the population of dog breeds is 2007. Though pit bulls weighed in as the second most popular dog breed in 2007, making up 10% (1,551) of the registered dog population (15,871), pit bulls out bit the most popular breed, Labs representing 18% of the registered dogs (2,832), by nearly a 2 to 1 margin over the 5-year period.
2007-2008 Austin Dog Breed Licenses - Austin Animal Services
In May 2012, Roanoke Valley SPCA confirmed that the number one breed brought into the regional animal control center is pit bulls -- a situation mirrored by nearly all open admission shelters in the country. Wsls.com stressed that a single breed, pit bulls, have been "taxing resources for both the Roanoke city animal control and adoption services" for some time. Roanoke police provided statistics showing that between May 2011 and April 2012, 41% (397 of 978) of all dogs brought into the center were pit bulls. During this same time period there were 169 biting incidents in Roanoke. Pit bulls were responsible for 34% (57).1
1Though technically the article did not state that pit bulls led all biting incidents, 34% is a very high percentage.
In April 2012, after Malden City Council passed an ordinance requiring unregistered and new pit bulls to wear a muzzle when in public, Councillor Neil Kinnon cited city dog bite data in a clarifying article: "According to Animal Control fifty-seven dog bites were recorded from 2009-2011. Eighteen of the bites were committed by pit bulls. The next closest breeds that bit were German Shepherds, Bull Mastiffs and Dobermans, which recorded only two bites each. The data broken down in its simplest terms means pit bulls account for approximately 6.7% of our registered dogs and committed 31.6% of the dog bites."1
1Under pressure from pit bull advocates, who didn't even understand the ordinance, Mayor Gary Christenson vetoed the measure, placing the "Maul" back into Malden.
Also in April, after 3 pit bull attacks in 3 days, the Victoria Advocate reported that so far in 2012, data from Victoria Animal Control showed that of the dogs quarantined for biting incidents, pit bulls made up 28%, twice as many as any other dog breed. Pit bulls were responsible for 10 biting incidents, followed by Labs and chow-mixes each with 5. Of the pit bull incidents, one involved the death of young boy killed by a chained pit bull on March 25. Just prior to the boy's death, the Advocate upset the pit bull advocacy community by publishing this photo and a story concerning 3 pit bull incidents in one week in mid-March.
In March 2012, Redeye Chicago published dog bite statistical data logged by the city's Commission on Animal Care and Control during 2011. Just over 1,830 animal bites were reported in 2011; canines were responsible for 98%. Notably, the agency separated pit bulls and their mixes into two categories -- a separation not done for any other dog breed.1 "Pit bull/Pit bull mixed" topped the list with 26.43%. When combined with the second category, "American pit bull terrier," (13.38%) the breed accounted for nearly 40% of all bites. Data from the City Clerks office shows that pit bulls and their mixes make up about 4.5% of the 37,546 registered dogs in the city.2
1It appears that pure bred American pit bull terriers have their own distinct classification. Failure to combine them into the overall "Pit bull/Pit bull Mixed" category creates misleading data.
2Though ranking far below pit bulls in biting incidents, German shepherds were the most popular AKC registered dog in Chicago for 2011.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Also in March, KTNV.com investigated whether or not pit bulls were "dangerous or docile?" The investigation came after a series of pit bull attacks in Las Vegas, Nevada. One victim, Sarah Chatley told the news group: "They went from tails wagging, to jaws clamping, in a split second ... I was down on the ground trying to protect my dog, and they were just ripping her apart. It was just so violent." Within the article, KTNV.com exposed the 2011 dog bite statistic data for the City of Las Vegas: "There were 364 reports of bites by pit bulls. That was the most of any breed. Next on the list were Chihuahuas with 122 bite reports."
Multiple Counties, North Carolina
In February 2012, WITN.com investigated the "pit bull debate" and discovered that pit bulls led bite counts in at least 4 North Carolina counties. The group then back peddled by buying into the myth that pit bulls make up a large part of the dog population (pit bulls make up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population). The article states, "In 2011 in Pitt County there were around 250 dog bites. Pit Bulls had the most with 41. In Onslow County there were 334 dog bites. Pit Bulls lead the way with 55. Craven County had 211 dog bites. Pit Bulls had the most with 37. Lenoir County reported 69 dog bites involving people. Leading the way was Pit Bulls with 14."
Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin
In January 2012, when Fond du Lac City Councilman Rob Vande Zande proposed an ordinance that would prohibit new pit bulls, Zande provided research of the number of reported dog bites in the city over the past 5 years: "The percentage that is attributable to pit bull breeds has increased from 10.7 percent of the bites in 2007 to 33.3 percent of the bites in 2011." Zande also noted that he knows a resident who sustained a severe pit bull bite while delivering papers. The man incurred about $100,00 in medical bills related to his injury. Shortly after Zande's proposal, pit bull advocates bombarded Zande and he folded.
A free reference to this article is located at the Wisconsin law firm website Miller & Ogorchock.
Pima County, Arizona
In November 2011, KGUN9-TV aired a segment titled, "What's the truth about pit bulls?" The show followed the grisly mauling of Michael Cook, a Tucson man who was attacked by his pet pit bull in August and subsequently died. Before his death, doctors were forced to amputate both of his arms and infuse the victim with over 100 pints of blood. Dog bite statistics from Pima County Animal Control over the last four years were also featured on the episode, and once again, pit bulls led all biting incidents with 848 bites, followed by German shepherds with 633, Labs with 496, Chihuahuas with 361 and Chows inflicting 231 bites.
New York, New York
Also in November, the New York Post published updated dog bite statistical data from the city's health department. In February, the data showed that pit bulls were responsible for nearly 25% of all dog bites, now the data shows 28% -- over six times more than the second "toothiest" breed. Pit bulls and their mixes totaled 833 bites by November, compared to the next top biter, chihuahuas, with 128 "incisor incidents." City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said, "People refuse to admit that pit bulls are bred to fight, they have higher pain tolerance, stronger jaws, and they do not have the instinct to back down -- they refuse to submit."
Also in November, after a pet pit bull, named Prince, nearly killed its
52-year old caretaker, Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) released dog bite statistical data showing that pit bulls inflicted over four times more bites than the next closest breed. From 2008 to 2011, pit bulls were responsible for 302 biting incidents followed by German shepherds with 68 and Labs with 40. TODAY'S TMJ4 -- who set out to "find the truth" about pit bulls -- takes a nose dive into decades old erroneous territory by comparing "shelter intake" dog breed data to bite data instead of "registered" dog breed data to bite data.1
1Dogs that end up in open admission shelters are loose, unwanted or have bitten or displayed aggression and often times all three. Thus, shelter intake does not accurately reflect dog breed populations within a community. Pit bulls shoring up 40% occupancy at MADACC -- and open admission shelters across the U.S. -- is standard today; this in no way reflects the actual population of pit bulls, which makes up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population. (See: ANIMAL PEOPLE Editor Responds to Fact Cooker Article by Mark Robison)
State of Delaware
In October 2011, The News Journal reported on the City of Wilmington's pit bull problem and its renewed effort to enforce their pit bull ordinance, which includes: registration, sterilization, a lease allowing a pit bull to be housed there, muzzled while in parks and owners must be 21-years old. The article also lists state dog bite statistics. According to the Delaware Division of Public Health, from January 2008 to October 2011 there were 5,156 biting incidents (See: Data chart). Pit bulls lead with 1,003 bites followed by "unknown"1 with 884 bites, Labs with 479 bites -- less then half of pit bull bites -- and German shepherds with 401 bites.
1The "unknown" factor may be the result of some counties not tracking dog bites by breed.
Also in October, after an infant was killed by a family pit bull-mix, Amarillo Animal Control statistics showed that pit bull bites were three times higher than those of any other single dog breed in the city. According to Shannon Barlow, assistant director of Animal Control, pit bulls accounted for 123 reported bites in Amarillo in 2009-10, the latest period for which city data was available. The breeds with the next-highest reports of bites were Labs and German shepherds, each with about 40 biting incidents, followed by boxers with 16 and rottweilers with 15. About 550 total dog bites are reported to officials each year, Barlow said.
San Diego County, California
In July 2011, after 75-year old Emako Mendoza was brutally attacked by her neighbor's two pit bulls, San Diego County Animal Services released data showing that pit bulls are the most prolific biters in the county. Of the 2,699 recorded dog bites in the past fiscal year, pit bulls were responsible for 389, nearly 15% (See: Graphic chart). Next in line, with almost half that number, were Labs with 199 bites and Chihuahuas with 174. To show how rare citations are issued after a biting incident, SignOnSanDiego.com pointed out that only 290 citations were issued during this same period even though almost 10 times as many incidents were reported.
Muskegon County, Michigan
Also in July, records from the Muskegon County Health Department showed that pit bulls were responsible for more biting incidents than any other dog breed for the past three years. In 2009, pit bulls produced 59 bites, in 2010, 75 bites, and in the first six months of 2011 already produced 41 bites. After two pit bulls brutally attacked a 60-year old Wyoming man, city lawmakers began discussing different pit bull regulations, including a breed ban for the City of Wyoming. The article also mentions a bill introduced by State Representative Timothy Bledsoe in June that would eventually ban the breed from the State of Michigan.
Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio
In June 2011, the Public Health Department of Dayton and Montgomery County posted animal bite statistics of the last fiscal year -- June 28, 2010 to June 28, 2011. Of the 736 total reported dog biting incidents, pit bulls were far and away the leaders, responsible for 16% (117 bites). The next closest breed, "mix," was responsible for 64 bites and Lab-mixes with 46. The department also posted statistics from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. Of the 693 total reported incidents, pit bulls were responsible for 14% (95 bites), again, nearly twice the number of the next closest breed, Labs with 58 bites, followed by "mixed" with 56.
Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Also in June 2011, Severna Park Patch reported that from 2009 to 2010, there were 233 incidents involving pit bull attacks against people and dogs in Anne Arundel County. In that same period, the next closest breeds, German shepherds and Labs, caused just 93 incidents combined. Lt. Glenn Shanahan of Anne Arundel County Animal Control said that pit bulls lead all other breeds by at least two to one when it comes to attacks over the last five years. "The numbers say what they say. We're not making it up," Shanahan said. "It's demonstrably overwhelming." Officials said that pit bulls are also more frequently labeled "dangerous."
Ventura County, California
In May 2011, the Ventura County Star reported that in the fiscal year 2008-09 -- the latest that statistics were available -- 1,617 animal bites were reported to the Ventura County Animal Regulation Department. Of these, dogs accounted for 78%. Pit bulls had more recorded biting incidents than any other breed (121) followed by chihuahuas (119). Monica Nolan, the department's director, said, "Pit bulls are a terrier breed, and they are built to grab prey and hold on to prey." Chihuahua bites "are quick bites," she said. To help soften the damaging news, Noland also said that pit bulls are among "some of the gentlest dogs I have ever seen."1
1During this same year, a Ventura County pit bull savagely mauled to death 5-year old Katya Todesco. This incident was recorded as "one dog bite."
Maricopa County, Arizona
In March 2011, field manager Al Aguinaga of Maricopa County Animal Care told KPHO that pit bulls are the number one biting breed in the county -- inflicting 12% of all reported dog bites -- followed by German shepherds and chihuahuas. When asked if pit bulls are "truly more aggressive than other dogs, or are they simply getting a bad rap?" Aguinaga said, "Typically bites are more severe" and "people go to hospitals" and "animals are attacked or killed." Aguinaga also called out the pit bull’s physical strength. Referring to a recent pit bull berserking incident, he said, "It took five officers, a whole squad, to chase that [pit bull] down" Tuesday.
URL:http://www.kpho.com/news/27294714/detail.html. Accessed: 2011-03-24. (Archived by WebCite® at https://www.webcitation.org/5xQl2w7Bf)
New York City, New York
In February 2011, the New York Post published a tongue-and-cheek article about "pint-sized" chihuahuas and shih tzus, breeds among the top five biters in 2010, according to the city's Health Department. What's not so tongue-and-cheek is that pit bulls led biting incidents with 815, nearly 25% of all biting incidents recorded in the city. Rottweilers followed in second position. One hardly needs to state the difference between a pit bull or rottweiler bite and the bite from a pint-sized fashion accessory. Furthermore, it is irrational to assume that pit bulls and rottweilers make up anywhere near the majority of household dogs in New York City.
In January 2011, The Sacramento Bee published a story about Poppy Watson, who was bitten in the face by a pit bull in November. The article helped promote a fundraiser on her behalf, Popfest 2011. Restaurateurs organized the event to help Watson pay for reconstructive surgeries. Watson told the Bee that her face looked like "it went through a windshield" after the attack. The male pit bull, which had formerly slept with its owners, was put down after the incident. The Bee also noted that Sacramento Animal Care Services investigated 165 incidents of animal attacks and bites in 2010. "The vast majority of those cases involved pit bulls."
In October 2010, Pittsburgh Animal Control records showed that pit bulls comprise 5.2% of the registered dogs. Yet of the 133 biting incidents reported so far in 2010, pit bulls made up 40%. Animal Control Supervisor Gerald Akrie -- a shameless pit bull apologist -- tried to blame the disproportionate numbers on "knucklehead" dog owners. Back in April, Pittsburgh police officer Christine Luffey and her daughter were attacked by three pit bulls that jumped a fence. Akrie minimized that incident by calling it an "accident," requiring DogsBite.org to fire off an email to Public Safety Director Mike Huss. Yet Akrie is up to his pit bull distortions again.
Also in October, City of Memphis records showed that there were 388 biting incidents in 2009. Of those, nearly half were inflicted by pit bulls. Other biters included German shepherds and Chows. The My Fox Memphis news article notes that based on DogBiteLaw.com -- and other groups that track national fatal dog attack data, including DogsBite.org -- pit bulls also cause over half of the attacks that result in death. The article comes several months after the deadly attack of William Parker who suffered a heart attack after being severely mauled by two loose pit bulls. Four other people were bitten and hospitalized in the July 20 rampage.
In August 2010, when the City of Lynn was discussing the adoption of a pit bull ordinance, Police Chief Kevin Coppinger said that 51 biting incidents were reported in the city last year -- 29 involving pit bulls (57%). Coppinger added that there had been at least four pit bull attacks since July 10. The ordinance discussed defined pit bulls as "dangerous animals" with "powerful instincts for dominance" and "unyielding aggressiveness." The ordinance would require pit bull owners to register their dog; pay a $50 licensing fee; if a renter, to notify the landlord that a pit bull was on the premises and to muzzle the dog when off property.
In July 2010, City Manager Michael O'Brien recommended to City Council an ordinance intended to deal with rising public safety concerns about pit bulls. Councilor William Eddy, who has championed the city's adoption of a pit bull law, said that over the past three years, pit bulls caused 25% of all biting incidents even though pit bulls only comprise 2% of the dogs licensed by the city. The new ordinance would require pit bull owners to abide by supplemental licensing and registration rules, ensure their dog is leashed and muzzled when off owner's property, obtain landlord consent (if a renter), and post a warning sign on the property.
San Bernardino County, California
In June 2010, after two deadly pit bull attacks, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved a measure requiring all pit bull owners to spay or neuter their animals. Brian Cronin, Chief of County Animal Care and Control, said, "This year alone, we've had two human deaths, and four deaths1 in five years, because of pit bull attacks. No other death has been attributable to any other breed." He said that of the 686 reported biting incidents in the county in the 2008-09 fiscal year, 137 involved pit bulls (20%). He added that because pit bulls are the least likely to be adopted, the county must already euthanize about 1,300 annually.
1Omar Martinez, Nathan Aguirre, Kellie Chapman and Shaun Lee McCafferty.
Clark County, Nevada
In May 2010, Clark County biting statistics were brought to our attention. Clark County publishes these statistics online. Biting incidents by breed during the 7-year period from 2003 to 2009 show that of the 6,798 reported incidents, pit bulls were responsible for 1,474 (22%). The next closest breed was the German shepherd with 671 (10%) incidents. In 2008, pit bulls out bit shepherds by more than three times -- 234 pit bull bites versus 77 shepherd bites. The same was nearly true in 2009, 215 and 88 respectively. Essentially, the Clark County pit bull community sold dogs that produced over 200% more bites than the German shepherd community.
Franklin County, Ohio
In April 2010, Bryan Wagner, Chief Environmental Specialist for the Franklin County Environmental Court, testified in opposition to HB 79, a bill that seeks to repeal the Ohio law that requires pit bull owners to securely confine and leash their dog and carry $100,000 in liability insurance. Wagner said statistics show more bites are attributed to pit bulls than other dog breed. In Franklin County, 126 of the 333 dog bites (38%) reported last year were attributed to a pit bull. Wagner added, "I believe that pit bull dogs represent a substantial and real threat to the citizens of a crowded, urban environment such as Franklin County."
In December 2009, Toledo Lucas County Health Department data showed that pit bulls led the number of biting incidents from January 1 to November 8. Of the 380 total biting incidents, 65 were attributed to pit bulls. This accounts for 17% of all bites, despite pit bulls accounting for less than 5% of the county's dog population. Though pit bulls are regulated under Ohio and Toledo laws, the breed still led biting incidents. The Lucas County Dog Warden's office keeps track of serious bite injuries. Of the 150 bites listed as "serious" this year, pit bulls and their mixes accounted for 42 (28%). In 18 of the cases, the victims were under 18 years of age.
In September 2009, it was reported that more than 2,400 dog bites had been recorded by animal control services in Bakersfield and areas of unincorporated Kern County since January 2007. "By a wide margin," the breed that bites most often is the pit bull, according to records compiled by the county. The city does not track bites by breed, which is an indicator that the city's animal service opposes BSL. The article also notes the questionable "mixed-breed" category: "Since 2007, pit bulls have bitten 389 victims in Kern. Mixed-breed dogs hold a dubious second place with 254 bites, and German shepherds are third with 140 bites."
Royal Oaks, Michigan
Also in September, another Detroit suburb discussed pit bull legislation (view related map). According to a report provided by City Manager Don Johnson on the 5,311 licensed dogs in Royal Oak, "Pit bulls account for only 1.7% of licensed dogs in Royal Oak but were responsible for about 35% of reported dog bite incidents this year." It is important to point out that Detroit is known as the "dogfighting capital" of the U.S., thus an area rich with the breeding and ownership of pit bulls with explosive aggression. The Detroit area is also the center of U.S. medical research regarding pit bull injury to humans1. This is not a coincidence.
1Pitbull Mauling Deaths in Detroit (case report) and A Ten-Year, Two-Institution Review of Pediatric Dog Attacks (study)
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
In August 2009, it was reported that pit bull bites were up 20% in Mecklenburg County. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control, in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, pit bulls represented 208 bites. Labs were second with 152, followed by German shepherds and Chows. The news article followed the July pit bull attack involving 9-year old Jisseth Moquete. The girl's neighbor, Jonathan Hall, had been "showing" the pit bull to her family in hopes they would buy the dog. As Moquete was petting the pit bull, the dog latched onto her face. A stranger had given the dog to Hall "for free" one day earlier.
Also in August, the mayor of Springdale, Doug Sprouse, said that over half of the bites reported over the last 2 years have been by pit bulls. That can be a little misleading, he said, "but that's still a hefty number." City officials agreed that they wanted to "prevent bites before they happen," particularly by pit bulls, yet were hesitant about targeting a specific breed in the ordinance. The nearby city of Siloam Springs declares pit bulls "vicious" (Sec: 10-101) and requires owners to adhere to restraint requirements, attain liability insurance and to muzzle their dog when off property. The law specifically targets pit bulls to prevent future pit bull bites.
Hamilton, Ohio (Butler County)
In July 2009, after a pit bull named "Monster" escaped its pen and attacked its owner's young daughter, the Hamilton Health Department released dog bite statistics. From 2001 to July 2009, pit bulls lead with 157 biting incidents, representing 19% of all dog bites. Despite the fact that Ohio declares pit bulls "vicious" and requires special restraint measures (955.22) and liability coverage, pit bulls were still the top biters. The closest follower was "mixed," with 133 incidents (16%). Yet this category is questionable given that U.S. dogs are rarely sold or adopted under the generalized name "mixed." Labs followed with 65 incidents (8%).
Hillsborough County, Florida
Also in July, the Tampa Tribune requested data on dog bites from the Hillsborough Department of Animal Services regarding the 2,400 cases recorded in the last 18 months. The data shows that 103 different dog breeds were responsible for the bites. Pit bulls topped the chart with 371 incidents, 15% of all bites during the period. Labs followed with less than half of this amount with 151 incidents (6%). German shepherds ranked 3rd with 105 incidents (4%) and Chows ranked 4th with 80 (3%). As depicted on the chart, the Tribune seemed to think it was no big deal that one dog breed accounted for such a large percentage of bites.
Ventura County, California
Ventura County Department of Animal Regulation released it annual data (July 2008 to June 2009) this month too. The report showed that pit bulls ranked 9th in licensing, down from 8th in the previous year, but were still the top biter producing 121 biting incidents, up from 117 in the previous year. Often cited by pro-pit bull groups as the leading biter, Cocker spaniels ranked 7th in licensing, but 9th in bite numbers producing only 19 incidents. Pit bulls also topped impounds with 1,399, up from 1,260 in the previous year. By comparison, Labs who rank 1st in licensing and are the most popular dog breed, had 580 impounds and 74 biting incidents.
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
In June 2009, Capt. Kenneth Paulhus of the Woonsocket Police Department issued a 3-year report concerning the alarming pit bull trend. "In 2006, pit bulls accounted for 32 percent of all the dog bite cases in Woonsocket," Paulhus says in the report. "The number increased to 37 percent in 2007. The year 2008 reflected half of all dog bites in the city were attributed to pit bulls." He added that "many were serious." Animal Control Officer Doris Kay1 says in the report that she used to think all dogs were created equal. But she says she's learned that, "In Woonsocket pit bulls bite more often, and cause more injury, than any other breed."
1Nine months later, Officer Kay is attacked and seriously injured by a pit bull while in the line of duty.
Also in June, after a pit bull attacked 10-year old Baylee Harris, Lincoln Animal Control officials said that pit bulls are the leading breed in reported attacks. Since September of 2008, there have been 38 pit bull bites in the city followed by Labs with 27. The Lincoln County Animal Control 2008 Annual Report (truncated) shows that in 2008, a licensed population of 858 pit bulls and their mixes produced 60 biting incidents. The city's population of Labs and Lab-mixes, 5448 dogs, produced 39 bites in the same period. The data shows that 1 out of every 14 pit bulls in Lincoln is a biter, while its takes over 142 Labs to produce a bite.
Richmond County, Georgia
In the same month, it was reported that Richmond County had 139 complaints of animal bites so far this year, 26 of them involving pit bulls. This is about 19-percent and the most of all dog breeds, according to the article. Diane Downs, the Director of Richmond County Animal Control, said that pit bulls "tend to get the most exposure because unfortunately they do the most damage." The news article came in response to a pit bull attack that left an Augusta man hospitalized. As we see in so many of these cases, the pit bulls escaped owner property (through a gap in the fence) "just to attack" a man who had been walking down the street.
Syracuse, New York
In May 2009, it was reported that the Syracuse dog control department had responded to 19 pit bull bites since the start of the year. According to the article, this is nearly double the amount during all of last year. "It's the beginning of dog control officer Jason Driscoll's shift," the article states, "and already he's responding to a pit bull call." In this instance, the two pit bulls (with a history of bad behavior) had also escaped owner property. Last year one of the same dog's bit a young girl. Dog control officers told WSYR TV that they run into trouble with other dog breeds as well, but pit bulls make up the "majority of reported attacks."
In April 2009, after a 16-year old girl was attacked by loose pit bulls while walking down a street, the Dyersburg Police Department reported there were 21 "dog bite" reports written in 2008. The figures show that nearly half of those bites (10) were from pit bulls. In the first four months of 2009, three of the five police reports written on dog bites involved pit bulls. The article also includes information from the Dyersburg City Attorney's office. City records show there were 35 court cases involving dogs within the last year. Of the 35 cases, 29 of them involved pit bulls. There were also six dog bite cases and all of those were from pit bulls.
In March 2009, the City of Ogden considered a new ordinance that would toughen requirements for pit bull owners including carrying liability insurance. Bob Geier, director of the Ogden Animal Shelter, was in support of this new ordinance. Based on the APPA national survey statistics, Geier estimated that there are about 16,000 dogs in Ogden, including 3,200 pit bulls. During the last two years, pit bulls have accounted for about 20 percent of the dog population at the city animal shelter. During that same period, according to Geier, pit bulls and their mixes have been responsible for about 40 percent of reported dog bites in the city.
Lake County, Florida
Also reported in March, Marjorie Boyd, the director of Lake County Animal Services, said, "Pit bulls lead all breeds of dogs and cats in bite incidents the county has investigated in the past two years." According to Boyd, pit bulls represented 12.7 percent of bite cases in 2007, 12.5 percent in 2008 and 18 percent of cases thus far this year. The article came in response to the mauling of 22-year old Tracy Lindsey. At the time, Lindsey had been jogging down Getford Road when two pit bulls escaped their property and attacked her. Lindsay was airlifted by a Life Flight helicopter to Orlando Regional Medical Center and rushed into surgery.
Broward County, Florida
South of Lake County, the Broward County Dog Bite Database depicts a vivid picture of the "top biter." During the years of 2005 to 2008, Labs produced 151 biting incidents with 98 inflicted on humans and 53 on animals, while Cocker spaniels produced 16 biting incidents with 15 on humans and 1 to an animal. In the same period, the pit bull/American Staffordshire terrier community produced a whopping 618 biting incidents with 323 inflicted on humans and 296 on the county's pet and livestock population. The data shows that human-aggression is just as prevalent as animal-aggression in pit bulls produced by local breeders.
Pinellas County, Florida
According to a 2009 Florida Senate Interim Report by the Committee on Community Affairs, Pinellas County had a total of 122,225 licensed dogs in 2007 and a total of 1,233 dog bites. For a county in which less than 3% of the dog population (3,666) is made up of pit bulls, they accounted for over 19% of the bites (235). The registered population of pit bulls produced 1 bite incident per every 15.6 pit bulls. The next highest number of bites was attributed to Labs, which represent 9% of the dog population (11,000) and accounted for 11.5% of the bites (142). The registered population of Labs only produced 1 bite incident per every 77.5 Labs.
Altoona city records showed in March that of the 5,056 dogs licensed in 2008, 162 (3%) of them were pit bulls or their mixes. City dog law officer, John Iorio, handled 178 biting incidents in 2008. Of these incidents, 110 (61%) involved pit bulls. Iorio believes the actual number of pit bulls in the city to be 400 (8%), but this hardly reduces the alarming number of bites attributed to them. In July 2009, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDF) records showed that 112 dogs in a 5-county region were declared legally "dangerous." Pit bulls accounted for 42 (38%) of these dogs. No Cocker spaniels or Labs appeared on the list.
In February 2009, The Indianapolis Star reported that pit bull bites were at a record high -- 282 in 2008, an increase of 33 percent from the previous year and about three times the total from 2006. The Marion County Dog Bite Database shows that pit bulls produced 490 biting incidents while Labs produced 152 and Cocker spaniels only produced 27. The Star also reported that out of 3,000 pit bulls in animal care last year, nearly 2,500 were euthanized. Despite these statistics, the active pit bull community and the Indianapolis Humane Society, managed to "table" a new dog ordinance designed to reduce pit bull bites and deaths.
In January 2009, the Wichita Department of Environmental Services released a number of pit bull statistics. The figures are based upon the Wichita Animal Control department's investigation of 733 dog bites in 2008. Included in the data are pit bulls encountered by the Wichita Police Department. In the 1-year period, 95% of police encounters with aggressive dogs were pit bulls. The report also showed that the percentage of pit bull encounters had increased from 66% in 2004 to 95% in 2008. Subsequently, four months after the release of this data, the City of Wichita enacted a mandatory pit bull sterilization law.
- 55% of all dogs deemed dangerous were pit bulls (41 pit bull dogs deemed dangerous).
- 34% of attacks and bites involved pit bull dogs (246 pit bull attacks/bites).
- 28% of dogs found running at large were pit bulls (1,279 pit bulls found running loose).
- 25% of dogs impounded were pit bulls dogs (1,575 pit bulls impounded).
- 37% of all dogs euthanized were pit bull dogs (1,255 pit bulls euthanized).
- 23% of dog complaints involved pit bull dogs (2,523 complaints involved pit bull dogs).
In September 2008, when the City of Canton was in the process of adding American bulldogs to their existing pit bull ordinance (pit bulls are deemed "vicious" under Ohio state law), the Canton Repository published dog bite statistics from the Canton Health Department. From January 1, 2005 to September 2008, pit bulls led biting incidents with 89 bites. German shepherds (including police dogs) followed with 68, mutts with 50 and rottweilers with 33. It must be noted that under a 1991 Supreme Court of Ohio ruling, the court validated that "dogs commonly known as a pit bull dog" includes close breeds such as American bulldogs.
North Texas Cities
In August 2008, The Dallas Morning News reported that one third (33%) of all dog bite incidents from July 2007 to July 2008 in Duncanville, Cedar Hill and Mesquite involved pit bulls. Each of these cities passed resolutions urging the state Legislature to allow breed-specific laws, as lawmakers were hoodwinked by the dog lobby in 1991 and passed a preemptive state-wide anti-BSL measure (822.047). The next closest breeds were German shepherds (9.6%) followed by Labs (9%). While breed population data was not available in this article, it's presumable that the pit bull population is lower than the other two breeds.
Ventura County, California
In July 2008, Ventura County Department of Animal Regulation released a 1-year statistical report (July 2007 to June 2008). The report showed that pit bulls ranked 8th in licensing, but were still the top biter producing 117 biting incidents in this period. Often cited by pro-pit bull groups as the leading biter, Cocker spaniels ranked 6th in licensing, but 8th in bite numbers with only 28 incidents. In September 2008, 5-year old Katya Todesco of Simi Valley suffered catastrophic face and neck injury after she reportedly "bumped into" a pit bull. She died 6 days later. The pit bull mauling death of Katya was recorded as "one biting incident."
El Paso County, Colorado
In May 2008, after a pit bull burrowed under a fence and attacked a 5-year old boy, Ann Davenport of the Pikes Peak Region Humane Society said, "Pit bulls and pit bull mixes have accounted for more dog bites than any other breed in El Paso County this year. They were involved in 216 bites, about 18% of the 1,381 attacks reported. Labrador retrievers were second on the list, with 157 attacks, and German shepherds were third, with 93 bites." The attack occurred in Cimarron Hills, just east of Colorado Springs. The child received 2,000 stitches and underwent two immediate surgeries with many future facial surgeries expected.
In February 2008, the City and County of Lubbock experienced a "pit bull epidemic," which by March ended in the deaths of 23 animals due to loose pit bulls. The February article provided 2007 Lubbock Animal Services data regarding dog incidents. Of the 247 dog bites, pit bulls accounted for 75 incidents (30%). Labs followed with just 17 incidents (7%) and German shepherds with 15 (6%). Unfortunately, the writers of the article were hoodwinked into the myth that pit bulls are one of the "most popular" dog breeds in the nation. 2009 U.S shelter data shows that the total U.S. pit bull population is no greater than 5% of all dogs.
San Francisco, California
In July 2005, about 6 months prior to San Francisco enacting a pit bull sterilization law, the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed hundreds of dog bites logged by the city. According to Animal Care and Control department records, pit bulls and their mixes accounted for 27% of reported dog bites since 2003, even though they accounted for only 6% of licensed dogs. Of the 900 bite incidents recorded in this period, 626 traced to a specific dog. Of those, 169 bites were attributed to pit bulls. As the Chronicle writer points out, "that's more than the number of bites by German shepherds (69), Labradors (58) and rottweilers (34) combined."
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